Because of Title IX: Etienne Thomas

Sr. Associate Athletic Director/SWA, North Carolina Central University

Finish this sentence: “Because of Title IX..."

I am a Division I senior administrator. I had the opportunity to enroll in the college of my choosing without giving it a second thought, and to continue my pursuit of education by enrolling in the University of Iowa College of Law.

How have the athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life? Can you imagine your life without them?

I cannot imagine what life would be like for me if my mother didn't have access to a college education, which put her in position to meet my dad while a collegiate. Following her lead, I took advantage of my time in college and got involved with intercollegiate athletics as a student athletic trainer. Thanks to Title IX, I have been afforded a great career with many successes at the Division I level and in higher education.

Tell us about a woman who championed you in pursuing your goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?

Ingrid Wicker-McCree, director of athletics at North Carolina Central University, has been a light onto my path throughout my career. When I completed my law school coursework, and thought I could secure a position in athletics but couldn't, she answered when I called and gave me my first real opportunity in athletics. She trusted me to run her office and to represent her in her absence at the campus and conference level.

Fast forward eight years, [Ingrid] again answered the call by asking me to join her on our current journey at NCCU. She has built a strong career of DI athletics participation, professional competition, coaching, administration, and leadership. She takes advantage of every opportunity to give me access and experiences, which have prepared me for the future while never losing site of the goal: using every opportunity afforded to women by Title IX in the realm of higher education and athletics participation, and helping others achieve the same.

How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness on the importance Title IX?

I am continuing to champion the next generation by leading by example as an administrator and mentor, by requesting and managing funds to support girls and women in sport, and by ensuring that the next generation knows that coaching and athletics administration are definitely career and life options for them.

If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?


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